By Margo Kingston

29 August 2013

I’ve had several Twitter discussions with people who don’t think either big party deserves their vote and reckon voting informal is the way to stick it up both of them.

It’s not.

In fact, if the big two can’t get your first preference their next best option is for you to vote informal. Don’t make them happier than you have to!

Your vote has the power of money, and money talks. This election your House of Representatives vote is worth $2.48 to whoever gets your first preference and $2.48 to whoever gets your first preference in the Senate. So you have $4.96 in your pocket on Saturday September 7 to give to whoever you wish.

This is how the public – you – funds political parties.

So what the big two DON’T WANT, if you reckon that neither deserves to govern us, is for you to cast a valid vote giving your first preference to a minor party or an independent, because then they don’t score your cash and someone else does.

Your investment gives small political participants financial help to even the playing field just a little. Now that’s a REAL protest vote.

And your voting power doesn’t stop there. Sure, you’ll have to decide to put one big party ahead of the other in the end, but your non-cash protest will take a vote off the primary vote of the incumbent or his or her successor if your seat changes hands. A lower primary vote shows the majors that they are on the nose. In a safe seat, if you put the big party who owns it below the biggie who doesn’t you can help make it more marginal, safe, and we all know what that means for getting results in the seat where you live.

Yet another message you can send the biggies is by choosing your number 1 strategically. The more votes a minor party or independent candidate scores, the louder the message to the biggies that they need to listen to the policies or beliefs of that candidate or party.

So you’ve got cash, power to help put your seat’s needs in play for the big two, and the power to tell them what issues you think are important.

You can check out how your lower house how to vote card will look at Below the Line and decide your strategy to fully empower your protest vote before you visit your polling booth. Print it out and take your own how-to-vote card to your polling booth!

If you are hazy about exactly how the preference system works to let you ‘vote for the partial bastards before the total bastards and still VOTE 1 for a minor party’ have a look at chicken-nation.

There you go, that’s my argument for why a strategic valid vote is way better than an informal one to make your point and play your part in our democracy without endorsing the big parties.

Discussion very welcome.